Mistrial declared in Columbia murder case with no body
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - An unusual murder trial had a disappointing ending for one Midlands family Monday evening.
Mark Anthony Richardson was on trial for the murder of Shelton Sanders, who has been missing since 2001.
But the fact that prosecutors have no crime scene, no eyewitnesses to a killing, no weapon, and no body led to a judge declaring a mistrial at 7:00pm Monday after a jury couldn't reach a verdict.
Sanders and Richardson were roommates until June 2001, when the two went to scout hotel rooms for a bachelor party.
Witnesses heard gunshots in an Olympia neighborhood, and Sanders hasn't been seen since.
"The verdict is a disappointment for everyone involved. Both families wanted closure. Any time a person accused of a crime comes out of court without a guilty verdict, the defendant feels a great sense of relief," says Richardson's attorney, I.S. Leevy Johnson.
Johnson maintained during the trial that, far from being the murder trial prosecutors said it was, the case was still that of a missing person.
But conviction in the face of a lack of a body is not without precedent. In 2003 Jeffrey Weston was found guilty of killing his mother in 1998, but authorities did not locate her remains until January.
There's no word yet on a possible retrial.
Posted by Logan Smith